Bob Bradshaw, Animals

The Collision

A family of geese stood by the curb
as if waiting for a crossing guard.
I slowed to a near crawl

thinking even if the big one steps out
I’ll easily avoid them.
I didn’t see her take flight… just

Whump! Whump!
A white underbelly
smacked my windshield.

I braked to a halt
as feathers slow as snowflakes
drifted onto my hood.

I looked back. The big goose
was in my rear view mirror,
sitting in the middle of the road

watching me pull away
as if I was her oldest boy
headed for college,

determined to watch me
until I was out of sight.
I prayed she was okay —

legs hidden under her,
composed, still watching me.
I pulled over, and by then

she was limping over a curb,
her goslings following.
My heart limping with her.

Training to be a Star

Our husky was always sticking her nose
down a hole, as if it were a top hat
turned upside down, hoping to emerge
with a rabbit, an amateur magician
who time after time revealed
a tunnel as an empty sleeve.
Still, Amanda never gave up, moving
from hole to hole the way
a performer goes from one
audition to another,
never giving up on a chance
at her big moment.
Today a wild fluttering clapped the air
like a duck flushed out of its reeds…
Amanda staring back happily at us
as if awaiting our reaction,
a live pigeon in her mouth.
No! No! we shouted.
She tilted her head, puzzled
that we stood shouting
Let go! Let go!
Gently her jaw opened
and in a spluttering
the pigeon burst into the air.
We rushed to embrace her,
throwing our arms around her neck,
stroking her chin.
She gazed up into our eyes,
her light brown eyes moist,
as if she stood at a stage’s footlights,
Encore! Encore! drifting
down from the balconies
like a blizzard of feathers.

In My Next Life I Want to Return as an Animal

I’d not be a camel,
though each morning the sun
breaks over his hump. Where’s the glory
in carrying your baggage?
Maybe a Bengal tiger
sprawled on your Persian rug,
daring boyfriends
to call on you.
Or perhaps a gator —
big rudder of a tail
patrolling your pool,
discouraging poolside parties
and skinny dipping.
The chameleon in me wants to return
as a gecko on your wall,
eavesdropping on hints
of yet another lover in your life.
Truth is, I long to return
as a howler monkey
belting out my heartache
whenever you walk by.

Recently retired, Dodging The Rain regular Bob Bradshaw is searching for a hammock to spend his days in. His poems have appeared in Apple Valley Review, Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, Eclectica, Ekphrastic Review, Loch Raven Review, Pedestal Magazine, Stirring, and many other publications.

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